Old Melbourne Gaol
Old Melbourne Gaol
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Step back in time and walk the road to the gallows in a 19th century prison, be arrested in a modern-day Police Station or put yourself on trial in court.Home to Melbourne's oldest prison, historic Magistrates' Court and former Police City Watch House, Russell Street has been at the heart of crime, law and order in Melbourne since the 1840s. Most of Australia’s infamous characters, including iconic bushranger, Ned Kelly and notorious gangster Squizzy Taylor have spent time within the walls of this amazing precinct. A ticket to the Old Melbourne Gaol grants you visiting rights to the past, present and future of crime and justice in Australia.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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What is Travellers’ Choice?
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Central Business District
Full of discovery and delight, Melbourne’s laneways tease the imagination long after you’ve put your weary feet up to rest. They weave through the heart of the city: cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques, throbbing with conversation and espresso coffee. You never quite know what you’ll find around the next corner: cobblestone alleys, old beer barrel hoists and even vats of simmering organic soup. There is the air of Berlin in the street art, a touch of Paris in the umbrella-shaded cafes and, reminiscent of Rome, eateries tucked away in the most unlikely of places. Perhaps you might want a break and cross the Yarra River to Southbank - walk along the promenade, bask in the sun at a waterside bar and decide whether to go to the nearby casino or book a ticket at the Melbourne theatre company.
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • tattooedtraveller_uk
    Norwich, United Kingdom603 contributions
    Interesting
    I just assumed this was a museum, but on entering I was told there was an "interactive" tour starting in 15 minutes. This was the Watch House, where you go through the system as if you have been arrested and so you get to see what the process would have been. This was a nice surprise and was quite well done. In the actual Gaol you can walk around on your own and read the boards, or download an app and listen to that as you go. I believe that there is an option to have a guided tour but I'm not sure. There was a fair amount to see here, and I would recommend it if you are in the area.
    Visited December 2022
    Written December 14, 2022
  • phkc070408
    Wilmington, Delaware428 contributions
    If horror movies are your thing, this is the place for you.
    August 2022 If horror movies are your thing, this is the place for you. This old Gaol is dark, spooky, and a dreadful reminder of how the Australian Corrections System operated until as late as the 1980s, if not later. The idea behind the Gaol was to make citizens scared to be placed in it and make released inmates never to want to return. Unfortunately, what they wanted was not what happened. For an interactive experience, do the watch house tour, where you get arrested and get talked through what happed after suspects were arrested. This is NOT a place for young kids.
    Visited August 2022
    Written January 1, 2023
  • ADocUk
    Melbourne, Australia196 contributions
    A great experience - well worth the visit
    The goal is well worth a visit if you are in Melbourne. The included tour of the watch house next door is quite interesting, especially as the watch house was in use until the mid 1990s. The guided tour of the goal is definitely worth the extra $5. Our tour was done by Tom, who was amazing and really brought the whole place to life.
    Visited April 2023
    Written April 2, 2023
  • Jacqueline E
    Stevenage, United Kingdom71 contributions
    Worth a visit
    Very interesting, lots of information and the mini tour of the old cell house next tour was good. The audio tour was helpful, there was lots to see and was worth the entrance fee. The only downside was the music coming from the university courtyard next door which was obnoxiously loud and ruined the atmosphere of the Goal. I felt sorry for the staff having to listen to that all day,
    Visited March 2023
    Written April 9, 2023
  • Hotairballoon
    Paris, France55 contributions
    Interesting walk in Jail
    An interesting walk down a Melborne jail. Something historical to pass the time, although the boards offer information, I would have liked more. It does however give you questions which you can set about to do your own research, which I most certainly will. Free for National Trust members, but I did have one disappointment. Several rooms were either locked, or completely bare. I would have preferred if there were more exhibits, however I understand they may have been changing/adding new ones, so I hope in the future more people can learn about more things. Overall a good day out and right in the heart of Melborne.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written May 9, 2023
  • janine m
    New Plymouth, New Zealand65 contributions
    Interesting and great attraction
    We visited the OMG in June and we had a great time. We did the Watch House Experience and the guard taking the tour was great!! My husband got fake arrested for shoplifting and it was hilarious - this was included in our ticket price. The gaol is so well set out with very interesting information. We probably spent almost 2 hours there - including the watch house experience - and would recommend this attraction.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 21, 2023
  • Naomi G
    Townsville, Australia145 contributions
    Goal is not just the Ned Kelly experience
    Take the tour and make sure you be a part of the Watchhouse Tour. It is worth it. We had a great time hearing the stories, and reading about the inmates of this famous goal. Kids really enjoyed it.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written June 29, 2023
  • Peter R
    1 contribution
    Ghost Tour of Old Melbourne Gaol
    The ghost tour is just fantastic. A great informed journey through time delivered is an enjoyable engaging way by Janet. Didn’t see a lot to ghosts, but came away much better informed about Australia’s colonial past.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled on business
    Written August 6, 2023
  • Lancegoodthrust
    Woy Woy, Australia117 contributions
    Interesting visit.
    Visited the Old Melbourne Gaol on a Saturday morning and plenty of people had the same idea. $56 entry for 2 seniors and the reception staff were very helpful. The gaol itself is interesting and well maintained. The lighting is very dim and adds to the sombre presence of the gaol. Plenty of prison facts in each individual cell and its seems capital punishment were handed out on a regular basis. We them walked down Russell St to the old magistrates court for the guided tour. All in a good visit even though the gaol is somewhat depressing and the way humans were treated in those days, even criminals was appalling.
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 16, 2023
  • Busker999
    Tonbridge, United Kingdom963 contributions
    Ok but needs more interaction
    Been to a few gaols around the world, this was ok. Get to see all the old prison and outdoor area. Most cells with exhibits of famous inmates as well as bits about prison life generally. Lots on Ned Kelly. However, lacked interaction unlike other goals we've been to.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written August 18, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

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Jeffry b
Essendon, Australia13,818 contributions
Sep. 2023 • Friends
The Old Melbourne Gaol is sinister, but it is quite fascinating. It was Melbourne's principal gaol for many years, when the prisoners were locked up in tiny cells. Many prisoners were hanged there, including Australia's most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly. Many of the prisoners were pathetic, they were obviously mentally ill. The Old Melbourne Gaol is one of Melbourne's top tourist attractions, be sure to book in advance.
Written November 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Deborah M
Gainesville, FL41 contributions
Oct. 2023 • Family
We went on the night tour after reading comments here on Tripadvisor and we were definitely not disappointed. The tour gave a real feeling of what it it must have been like to be a prisoner in 'Her Majesty's Hotel' back in the day. The guide was informative while also keeping the atmosphere of the prison alive in the telling. We definitely recommend seeing the gaol on the night tour.
Written November 10, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RyokoshaScarlett
Montreal, Canada10 contributions
Sep. 2023 • Solo
Although this was a self guided tour with audio commentary, I really enjoyed the vast array of exhibits and information. A must for any visitor to Melbourne who’s interested in history.
Written October 27, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thehallgang
153 contributions
Oct. 2023 • Couples
Wonderful visit today. We traveled to Melbourne from Manchester England , and our visit to the old Gaol was one of the highlights. As English National trust members , we appreciate the work and effort by all the staff who give their time to this wonderful organisation!! Without them the buildings & history they protect would vanish and be lost. I would personally like to thank the ladies on the front desk , who welcomed us as English members, and showed great interest in our National trust and in my wife & I’s personal life . Thanks to them we enjoyed every minute of our visit and took away a little bit more of Australia’s wonderful history. Thank you ladies.
Written October 20, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike S
London, UK125 contributions
Oct. 2023 • Couples
We had a trip to the old jail. Troy was our guide and he made it so enjoyable. He was a really funny guide and kept us entertained with stories and anecdotes. Inside it was interesting to get a feel of what life was like on the inside, some good exhibits. All in all an afternoon well spent.
Written October 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

krocchi
Singapore, Singapore1,430 contributions
Sep. 2023 • Couples
Not worth the money. Very expensive entrance ticket $35 just to see 1 prison block. We finished walking around in 30 mins or so. The Perth’s Fremantle prison was so much bigger and worth it. The old Melbourne goal is way too small as most of the building was torn down. Part of it is now part of RMIT university. Do not recommend to visit unless you have never been to a prison.
Written September 17, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FlashAdele
Gosford, Australia228 contributions
Sep. 2023 • Couples
I recommend a visit to the Old Melbourne gaol when in Melbourne. The tour with expert commentary is quite interesting and educational with talks about various inmates the most famous of which is Ned Kelly. Jails were tough places then
Written September 15, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tessa S
Oxford, UK172 contributions
Feb. 2023 • Friends
Old gaol right in the heart of Melbourne. Combined ticket to visit City Watch House and Old Magistrates Court. Guided tours.

The walls of the prison form part of RMIT University. The old gaol was shut in 1929 - designed around landings with cells running the length. Australia’s infamous Ned Kelly was hung there and some of the site is dedicated to his story.

The City Watch House was opened in 1909 but was functioning until 1994. Criminals were held here prior to coming before the court. It’s cramped, hot and atmospheric. Graffiti on the walls of the exercise yards is a poignant reminder of the multitude of men and women that came through.

Well worth a visit if gaols are your thing and an important insight into social history ‘ the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members’ . It’s well worth reminding yourself of this as you walk round.

The State Library of Victoria is almost bang opposite so good to combine.
Written September 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve W
Sheffield, UK11 contributions
Aug. 2023
Fascinating visit. Brilliant guide. Well worth the opportunity to check it out. Interestingly our teenager was transfixed by the guide’s stories of escape attempts.
Written August 21, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Busker999
Tonbridge, UK963 contributions
Aug. 2023 • Family
Been to a few gaols around the world, this was ok. Get to see all the old prison and outdoor area. Most cells with exhibits of famous inmates as well as bits about prison life generally. Lots on Ned Kelly. However, lacked interaction unlike other goals we've been to.
Written August 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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